Windows Administration Training

I am by no means a Windows Administrator and I’ve even been known to admit to being a Unix bigot; but really I agree with the accumulated wisdom of ASR that all operating systems suck, some just suck more than others (see also FAQs 3.1 & 3.3.)  And I don’t believe that a good system administrator can be judged by the operating systems they administer (the reasons they administer those operating systems maybe, but not the operating systems.)  At any rate, it’s useful to have a basic understanding of other OSes and the last two years my training plan has included a Windows Administration class at the local community college.  I’ve been thinking that I should take the associated Microsoft Certification exams, but I’ve never really gotten around to it.  However, for some reason that escapes me now, I signed up to take 70-291 Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure this afternoon.  (I remember the part about the VUE second chance promotion, but not why I thought I’d actually have time to prepare.)  So, I spent a good part of the weekend trying to force myself to read a study guide.  Given that I only got through about a third of it, it’s a good thing that a lot of the curriculum for this exam is about TCP/IP, subnetting, and protocols – all things I already know – though I’m not making any predictions on success or failure.  (But hey, if I fail I get a free retake and maybe I’ll actually do a through review for that.)  The thing I’m always amused at when reading Windows adminstration training material is how they seem to use the following formula repeatedly in almost every book:
Topic is really difficult.

4 to 8 step procedure with no decision points required (and often with illustrations)

See you did that really difficult thing, you are so smart.
I don’t disagree that Windows administration is hard and requires skilled administrators, but the hard stuff can’t be laid out in a 4-8 step unchanging procedure.  And I think all this does is build fake self-esteem on the part of the poor innocents who don’t know enough to know how little they know yet (and provide endless amusement for the rest of us when we hear them bragging about it…. maybe it’s a huge elaborate practical joke?)

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